SOUTH-AFRICA-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 2008-02 > 1203878843
From: "John Brown" <>
Subject: Re: [SOUTH-AFRICA] Criminal records
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 18:47:23 -0000
"The Mohrs" <> wrote
> Two questions:
> * It is very "nice" when we find ancestors who were teachers,
> principals of schools, founding members of theological schools,
> etc., but how does one handle it if one finds an ancestor with a
> criminal record, especially regarding the descendants of an
> ancestor who never knew that their father/mother had a criminal
> record - more so, if they are very interested in the research?
Personally, I see no problem in treating all ancestors or relatives in the
same way. The chances are that we all have ancestors or relatives who were
Royal, noble or criminal, builders, labourers or imbeciles. If we don't want
to know this, we shouldn't research our family histories. Yes, some people
don't want to hear the bad news, so don't tell them; if they are really
interested in the history, they will put their repugnance to one side and be
prepared to hear it all. That's a decision for everyone to make at the time
the issue arises. I like nothing more than a bit of juicy family scandal !
In my own family tree I have 2 characters, brothers, who were both
imprisoned for armed robbery in the 1950s/60s; the son of one ceased contact
when he realized that I knew of his father's history though the father's
sister was very happy to talk about her 'wayward' brothers, not to mention
her 'slightly dodgy' father.
I firmly believe that one has to be prepared to accept whatever the research
throws up, otherwise, don't do the research.
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